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Comment Re:Riiiight.... (Score 1) 736

You also notice in this post there is no difference made between the right wing (most people in America) and the alt.right (a few thousand people). They are put together in the same bucket so that the odious beliefs of the alt.right may contaminate the entire right. The principle is: add a thimble of wine to a gallon of sewage and you've got a gallon of sewage, but add a thimble of sewage to a gallon of wine and you've got a gallon of sewage. This is just plain ignorant, but it's the new philosophy of the ctrl.left and sadly it has a good chance of working.

Not sure if your metaphor lands - I don't care if that wine is only 1% sewage, I'm still not drinking it. Same thing with a political movement that is aligned with Neo-nazis. Even dabbling in white supremacy compromises the entire party.

Comment Re:he bet on the winner (Score 1) 820

if eggs are fertilized at the wrong time of the month then the zygote still gets aborted just as part of the normal menstrual cycle.

Yes, but that is God's work, not human's. You didn't take an overt action to cause it.

In other words, people die all the time, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for no reason at all. That doesn't make them bad, it is just life. You go when it is your time to go.

There is a difference between billions of fertile eggs dying every year due to nature and millions killed on purpose.

That is why the law, for example, splits out homicide between intentional and unintentional, and sometimes you can kill someone and not go to jail because it was an honest accident due to events beyond your control.


Note: I fully get that not everyone agrees with me, thus the willingness to compromise. I give my point of view and set my position, then figure out what I can actually get, because I don't live in a world that has to do what I say. I honestly wish BOTH sides would remember that, because I hear it too often from both extremes that they don't wish to be reasonable.

Good job on the birth control thing - if you legitimately believe that way and are willing to forgo all contraceptive pills in your family based on your beliefs, that puts you a good step above most pro-lifers.

That said, I don't think the distinction on how a fetus gets aborted matters. The "rhythm method" of contraception has been around for a long, long time, and it plain and simple doesn't prevent eggs from being fertilized. Are these people committing continual manslaughter? Honestly, if you really go that far, then I think it might become immoral to have kids at all, or ever risk activity that would allow a fertilized egg to be aborted by natural causes or otherwise.

Think about it like this: if you want to save a kid's life, is it worth risking another kid's life for every chance at it? Obviously the answer is no. Every time you attempt to conceive, you run a serious risk of aborting a fertilized egg. By your definition, there's no moral way to conceive a child unless you can do it in such a way that you guarantee that no zygote can be aborted - and there is no way to get that guarantee.

The whole "natural" vs. "unnatural" thing is nonsense. Rape is natural, considering that it happens in the animal kingdom everywhere. Malaria is natural, so clearly there's no moral problem with allowing a child to die from malaria, right? Whether you make a choice that has a large chance of killing a child, or you outright choose to kill a child, you have done something horrific. I have found no logical argument that allowing a zygote to abort from natural causes is manslaughter, ergo early term abortion is not murder.

Comment Re:Your daughter's "reproductive rights" will be f (Score 1) 820

Far better and cheaper to let them kill themselves than waste money on people who are smarter than all the experts and ignore the Mt. Everest-sized evidence about the dangers of drug use.

No, it isn't. Junkies, homeless people, desperate people all have create a very real burden to society in terms of higher police costs, emergency room costs, and lost property values because of crime. In many cases, it's cheaper to fix the problem than it is to let it continue.

Comment Re:he bet on the winner (Score 1) 820

In any case, it was the 1970s, that was another time (quite common back then, he wasn't unique there), or would YOU like to be judged on what you did 40 years ago?

I know, just like we should have excused anything that Hillary did in the 80's, or 90's, or 2000's - those were different times as well. If people show you what they are like, believe them. Stop excusing Trump just because he's your guy.

Comment Re:he bet on the winner (Score 1) 820

Side note: abortion rights should go away, but gay rights should stay, for whatever that is worth. I still can't understand how anyone is for child murder, but there are funny people in this world.

So, I'm guessing you're one of those who believes that human life begins at "conception"? Could you specify whether conception is when the sperm fertilizes the egg, or when the egg implants in the uterine lining, or when the zygote begins dividing, or perhaps reaches some arbitrary number of cells? Because if you draw that line at fertilization, most birth control pills are equivalent to constant indiscriminate murder. And it becomes immoral to have sex any time except at the peak likelihood of successful implant, because if eggs are fertilized at the wrong time of the month then the zygote still gets aborted just as part of the normal menstrual cycle.

Comment Re:as a layperson, im a little confused. (Score 2) 647

I fully agree that institutional biases exist and are a problem. And in some cases, they are born out of unconscious bias. But you can't really blame people for having an unconscious bias - after all, it's not a decision they've consciously made. So, what a decent person would do is find ways to counteract bias, as scientists do with double-blind studies. Or, if that's not practical, find a way to test your own bias and then actively work against it.

Harvard has a pretty quick way to do that online: https://implicit.harvard.edu/i...

For myself, I taught high-school science for a while, and so I took a few tests on that site to see if I had any strong bias to be worried about. Turns out that I had no particular racial bias, but had a pretty strong gender bias against females in STEM. I've tried to be actively more self-aware thanks to that, although effectively addressing the bias, even if you know it's there and you know it's wrong, is hard to do. You're essentially trying to ignore and/or retrain your subconscious associations, and I'm not sure that anybody is super effective at doing that.

Comment Re:as a layperson, im a little confused. (Score 3, Insightful) 647

If you're a manager and your making decisions on bonuses, promotions and pay and you're even unconsciously taking gender, race, religion or ethnicity into account, then you're a bigot.

Hang on now. There is probably nobody out there who doesn't unconsciously get influenced by those factors. We all have biases that we aren't even aware of - the very best we can do is try to take conscious steps to counteract those biases, or to evaluate a field of resumes without looking at the names, something like that.

Having a bias does not make you a bigot, it makes you a human. You only become a bigot when you believe that those instincts towards prejudice are appropriate and seek to rationalize and protect them. And you become a willing enabler of bigots if you try to pretend that bias doesn't exist.

Comment Re:Resonating with Americans (Score 1) 184

No. That's what the typical decision tree looks like, where you vote for the incumbent party vs. the challenging party. That doesn't fit this time around, though, unless the "change" you are looking for is completely abandoning decency and competency as a nation. Trump is unfit for the presidency, to an unprecedented degree.

Comment Re:Of course you can. And you should. (Score 1) 562

Hitler was elected democratically. Do you think the people who put him in power should be applauded? They were just exercising their right to democracy, after all.

OP is not saying that we should ban people from voting. But, if you've demonstrated that you're willing to support a xenophobic demagogue who also happens to be a pathological liar, then you deserve to be ridiculed for it. That's people exercising their free speech to call you out on your poor judgement and apparent disregard for basic human decency. You can use your free speech to try to defend yourself. It's called liberty.

Here's the thing: the Germans that put Hitler in power deserve to be blamed for it, because they wanted promises of grandeur and success and sacrificed their freedom and decency to get it. The people who vote for Trump deserve to be blamed for it, for the exact same reasons. Liberty doesn't mean that there are no repercussions for your actions - it means that you are free to make piss-poor decisions, such as supporting authoritarians like Trump, and it means that you will be treated accordingly.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 917

No, your numbers are wrong on a few counts. First of all, this doesn't apply to children. Second of all, even among earners, only a small fraction of people will collect the full UBI - the others are paying tax, even if they earn $1k a year from working, they still pay a tax on that $1k, so the total drain on the system is somewhat less than the UBI. Whereas currently, many people with low enough earnings pay no tax whatsoever, or get money back from the system.

If you tax people only on earned income (basically, taxation exists on every dollar of your income past UBI), then a large chunk of the population is still paying in more tax than UBI, so in real terms they don't count as pulling from the system. What's more, when you do it that way, you effectively get a continuously variable progressive tax, even if it is flat: I ran the number assuming a $12k UBI, and a 25% flat tax on income, using real IRS number from 2014. Assuming you get rid of $500B in "income security" spending by the federal govt (2013 number, and that leaves Social Security and Medicare intact) then the UBI program actually saves you money. Part of the effect is that with a flat tax such as that, everyone below $70k has more take-home money but everyone over $70k pays more from the new tax policy + UBI than they got previously.

Anyhow, the numbers work. Let me know if you want the spreadsheet or references.

Comment Re:Competition.... (Score 2) 89

No, this is wrong. The reason rocket science is hard is because getting to orbit is hard. Going suborbital requires much less velocity, which means much less energy, which means less fuel, and you have tons more margin to work with. You can use cheaper, more reliable materials, you can afford to over-engineer structures and systems for safety. A suborbital rocket can also ignore many technical challenges entirely - there's no staging, for instance, there's no need for thermal protection for re-entry, there's far less destructive capacity involved so you have simpler pads and support infrastructure and less regulatory burden since your rocket isn't capable of destroying small towns.

For a simple comparison, a kg to space (100km) means you've only got to worry about gravitational potential energy, mgh, a total energy of 1kg * 10m/s/s * 10^5m, or 10^6J. For a kg to orbit, you have to have that gravitational potential energy, plus ~7.8 km/s. KE = 1/2mv^2, so 1/2 * 1kg * 7800m/s^2 = 3*10^7J. That means, from the very start, you need ~30 times the energy. To find a similar difference in capability, you could look at a Cessna vs an SR-71. The two are only similar in the most superficial ways.

Getting to orbit absolutely is the hard part. Blue Origin is working on it, but they started at suborbital specifically because it is easy, and their entire motto is gradatim ferociter, meaning "step by step, ferociously". Suborbital is an easier step, so they are taking a more gradual approach than SpaceX.

Comment Re: Whoopty Doo (Score 3, Insightful) 843

His entire world view is based on either pure fantasy, or on making productive people slaves to non-productive people and calling that a virtue.

There is not a single policy that Bernie has advocated that isn't being put to good use in Northern Europe - he's really a Democratic socialist after the Scandinavian style. So are you saying that Finland is an imaginary place?

On your second point: Too true, I hate it when productive people (like contractors, who actually build useful things) are unpaid slaves to non-productive people (like freeloading Trump and his ilk).

Comment Re: Whoopty Doo (Score 1) 843

You don't get your company to that size "with an iron fist, and no help or good ideas from anyone else", or by "blaming everyone but himself as he never accepts responsibility".

You underestimate the power of having a ton of money to start out with and a rich dad to bail you out whenever you mess up. Also, being willing to screw over all of your contractors whenever you can get away with it is a great way to save some cash. Oh, and make sure to use clever accounting to completely avoid paying your share of taxes.

Even then, if Trump was just competent, you would've expected him to at least stay even with the market, but as it is he performed far worse, even counting all of his unethical business dealings.

What's more, how do you know Trump is even that successful? Because he says so? If he really was so rich, and charitable, and successful, why doesn't he release his tax returns? Especially considering that he was the leader of the birther movement, it's completely hypocritical to withhold his personal information from the American people.

Comment Re:Hatchet job (Score 1) 843

According to Adams, Trump is using a technique called "pacing", where you make an extreme statement and follow it up by a moderate position. As with anyone running for a higher political office: what he says during his campaign has essentially nothing to do with his personal beliefs. It's all tactics to get elected. This is, sadly, how politics works.

This is a classic example of how otherwise sound-minded people talk themselves into supporting a narcissistic demagogue like Trump - just invent a more complex, reasonable, and intelligent persona hiding underneath the ignorant, blustering rhetoric, and then support that imaginary persona. The key problem, though, is Occam's Razor. If you have to invent elaborate scenarios to explain why your preferred candidate isn't a duck, even though he looks, acts, and sounds like one, and has for his entire life, maybe the simpler thing is to just cut the B.S. and admit that you are in fact dealing with a duck... or a xenophobic sociopath, in this case.

Comment Re:That's Heavy (Score 2) 202

There are plenty of incremental steps that could be pursued to drive R&D and expand the industry, such as near-Earth space tourism (as you suggest), asteroid mining, space-based solar, and small-scale research and exploration colonies that aren't intended to be self-sufficient. All of these things would benefit greatly from a huge reusable rocket like the ITS, without the high probability of catastrophic, deadly, horrendously expensive failure that accompanies a premature large-scale colonization effort.

I tend to agree... if we have to find the "next Earth", then Mars is certainly the best candidate in the solar system, but I don't think there's any real requirement or capability for that kind of thing at the moment. Instead, just opening up a new economic frontier in space will probably be the real key to what Musk is after - moving humanity into the next phase of civilization. It might be that he even recognizes that (and the fact that this has been renamed the Interplanetary Transport System rather than the Mars Colonial Transporter suggests that he does) but is maintaining the vision of Mars because it provides the focus needed to hone the development effort. If he builds transportation infrastructure sufficient for a Mars colony, that same capability effectively unlocks the whole solar system to large-scale manned operations. Yet, it is still useful to focus on one specific mission to help sell the idea and cut out the cruft and feature creep along the way... and that way, nobody can call his system a "rocket to nowhere", a moniker that has plagued the entire SLS effort.

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